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Case Study: Employee Value Proposition at AstraZeneca

Whether our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) projects are global in nature or focused on a country or region we always apply the same principles, which are to segment your employees across important talent segments and really understand what they want from work. This is exactly what we did with AstraZeneca when we needed to create an EVP that would resonate well with all 65,000 employees.

The goal

To create a global Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for AstraZeneca, building on the principles of their corporate brand to further differentiate the company in an increasingly competitive talent marketplace.

This included identifying:

  • Any different approaches needed to attract and retain different talent segments and what those differences should be
  • Priority areas for change in order to maintain and improve engagement of key talent
  • The messages to use to attract different talent groups, from scientist to marketer, to AstraZeneca in fifteen different countries

What we did

As with any Employee Value Proposition the starting place is to understand what is important to current employees and what the company is like to work in right now. This was a global project in a company with over 65,000 employees so it was crucial that we segmented the workforce. We focused on 15 talent groups, 12, countries and 4 functional areas. We also segmented people according to their age and gender.

We began by reviewing data already available. In this case we had the employee opinion survey data and some research on what was important to AstraZeneca employees.

We developed a draft Employee Value Proposition using our grounded theory research methodology.

The Employee Value Proposition comprised of five themes. We tested the themes with existing employees to check their relevance, resonance and credibility. We also wanted to make sure that they appealed to both existing and potential employees and that the language worked in each of the different countries. The testing also told us which elements of the EVP appealed more to each segment and therefore which messages to highlight to these groups.

How we did it

This was a large global project spanning 15 countries. The project duration was six months. We worked in a project team comprising Director Global Talent Attraction, Global Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing Director, Head of Learning and Development, and Director of Internal Communications. The project sponsor was the Global HRD.

As the company was creating a new corporate brand and identity at the same time we also worked alongside their branding agency, Interbrand. We jointly developed a style guide.

Importantly, the Employee Value Proposition was going to be the first company-wide project to be communicated under the new corporate branding. So it was crucial that it was written in a style that fitted the brand and brought it to life.

Key project outputs

  • The Employee Value Proposition itself
  • A resultant Employer Brand
  • An online user guide for HR and managers giving guidance on how to manage and engage different key groups.
  • A recruiters’ guide showing each talent segment and which messages appeal to each
  • Recommendations on HR priorities
  • A ‘story’ showing the journey of creating the EVP, who was involved and what the results had been

The difference we made

  • We increased engagement as we gave people an opportunity to be understood and have their say
  • They now know exactly how to present AstraZeneca in the employment marketplace

The Employer Brand toolkit uses an eReader design to give examples of the employer brand in action and to give employees Employer Brand information in an accessible and interactive format. The toolkit is easy to use and provides a positive user experience with an engaging, animated page turning feature.

The Employee Value Proposition is being ‘lived’. AstraZeneca have developed a toolkit for managers to help them to manage, engage and recruit people.

Employee Value Proposition embedded into Social Media

AstraZeneca regularly looks to integrate their Employer Brand messaging and visual identity onto their Social Media properties. Their Recruitment Career Facebook page was recently ranked #1 and #4 respectively in Europe and the USA by Potential Park’s S-Com Study. AZ regularly cross promotes their employer branding messages onto their career LinkedIn and Twitter pages. The posts provide a peek into AZ’s culture and work environment. All messages reflect the corporate and employer brand/EVP framework, along with AZ’s visual and verbal identity.

Global Recruitment Employee Value Proposition Communications Model

It’s important to understand EVP drivers for each talent segment and to build communication for each key process point. The below provides a graphic on AZ’s Global Recruitment EVP Communications Model and how it is delivered to the market.

Case Study Employee Value Proposition at AstraZeneca diagram, thanks to Lisa Smith-Strother
Diagram included here with thanks to Lisa Smith-Strother — former Director, Global Employer Branding, AstraZeneca

Summary of results

AstraZeneca are an example of a company that has implemented their EVP well and thoroughly. They have made it work for them in terms of attracting new talent and keeping existing talent motivated and engaged.

“talentsmoothie… truly understand what an EVP is

Talentsmoothie were our lead external partners in helping us to create our first Employee Value Proposition in AstraZeneca at both a global and a local level. Through their rigorous approach, and ability to integrate other core elements such as our business strategy and corporate brand, they helped to ensure that our EVP will be sustainable for us in the medium to long term. Above all it was their positive can-do attitude, their utmost flexibility and confidence in helping us to navigate ambiguous scenarios that really impressed. From my experience they are one of only a small handful of external partners that really truly understand what an EVP is and how it can work to drive a business and its culture forward.
Stephen Lochhead — former Director, Global Talent Attraction, AstraZeneca

If you found this Employee Value Proposition case study of interest and would like to know more about  our EVP work in AstraZeneca or discuss how a similar project might work for your organisation, call Justine James on +44 (0)7710 778961 or email her at

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